Monday, 27 February 2012

LATEST INTERVIEW: With Lynn Lovejoy, fellow foodie blogger of "Order in the Kitchen."

Hi gang! My last few interviews were from local business owners, where I gained general information for a small business and learned how "they get your name" out in the community. This round of interviews will be with fellow foodie bloggers, friends, and industry people. Not necessary small business owners, but people who JUST ENJOY FOOD and gaining more information on what they eat.

My NEW interview is with the "lovely" Lynn Lovejoy, from North Carolina. Lynn has a very informative "food-law" blog called "Order in the kitchen." She mixes her passion of law with her love of food and cooking. Where did we meet? On twitter! We both use social media to gain new blogger friends and followers.

Lynn's brief bio:
Well, I'm sure you already know I went to law school and graduated, passed the bar etc. I went to law school at UNC Chapel Hill and I'm originally from Charlotte. I'm now a licensed attorney in NC and seeking full-time legal employment here in Raleigh. I'm an NC Native all the way! As I said above, I'm not classically trained and everything I learn and do is a process. The blog is really fun because every recipe has a Verdict, where I tell you how it went, and when I mess up, I call them "Trial and Errors". In case it isn't evident already, I'm kind of a dork, which I totally own up to! I love cooking because it calms me and lets me put my energy into something that I really love (except it doesn't calm me when I'm making a cake for 60 and all three layers break in half! LOL). Basically, I do this because I love it. I love tweeting and interacting because I think the food blog community is something really special and I love being a part of it. If you want to know anything else, feel free to drop me a line in the Contact Me section at the top! Thanks for reading! :)

My questions to Lynn:

1) Why did you start "Order in the kitchen" blog?
I started Order in the Kitchen because I had been working on another food blog with a couple of friends during my 3rd year of law school. After we all graduated, I decided I wanted to continue with food blogging but wanted to branch out and do my own thing, so I started from there. I decided to do a law-theme because I was in the midst of finals in my last year, and gearing up to take the bar exam.

2) You started with a passion for law, when did your passion for food come alive in your life?
I began cooking during my late 2L to early 3L year because I needed a form of de-stress in my life, and cooking was a perfect way to de-stress, and bring a little creativity to my life. Plus, I was (and still am) dating a guy who could survive every day on spaghetti with ground beef and ragu, and frankly, I can't and needed to bring some creativity to our dining experience. I never grew up cooking, and my mom was a working mom and didn't cook or teach me how (which is fine) but I kind of just figured it out on my own. I certainly had wonderful influences, including my Aunt, who is a superb cook, and my late grandmother Mimi, who passed away during the bar exam study period. Mimi lived with us for 11 years and cooked for us almost every day. She was a fabulous inspiration for cooking from the heart. Because I was never really taught how to cook, I still make lots of mistakes and have learned a lot already. But I love what I do and fortunately my boyfriend doesn't complain too much when I totally botch dinner.

3) What influence does social media have in your blog?
I use twitter and facebook a lot when reaching out to people who read my blog. I love twitter because it is interactive and I get to talk to and form relationships with others who have similar passions. Facebook is a good way to reach out to readers, but to me, doesn't provide the same amount of interaction as twitter and I like that about twitter more. I use instagram to show pictures of my food and life to others there and I find that to be a fantastic social media outlet because it's like twitter but in pictures (so easier to scan through quicker and catch all the good shots!) I use pinterest like it's my job. It's terribly addicting. I could probably use it in a more marketing/promoting way, but I really just use it to pin things I love and want to refer back to. I try to pin things that I think my followers will enjoy, but I never pin things just for others to see and repin (and bring me traffic) or whatever because that seems silly. I do sometimes pin my own work, but it's on a board called "Order in the Kitchen Photos" and therefore, if people don't want to follow my stuff, they can just unfollow it.

4) What is your most memorable meal you ever ate and why?
Oh wow that's a toughie. I would actually have to say that my most recent meal at Roy's in Waikiki was one of my most memorable meals. Although, that's partially because my other meals at Roy's have been memorable. I got Roy's famous butterfish, which I have had a multitude of times and it is a plate with the perfect proportion of components and flavors and is almost indescribable. I had basically been talking up Roy's to Matt (the bf) for about 2 years, going on and on about how amazing this place was. It got to the point that once we were there, I was worried it wouldn't live up to how much I'd hyped it. Well it absolutely did. We shared the best crab cakes I've ever had in my life and each got a salad. Mine in particular was superb-- it had goat cheese panna cotta (with goat cheese from the Big Island), braised tomatoes, red onion and a wasabi balsamic. So unbelievable. Then the butterfish came. Just as I had remembered it... perfection. Matt got the filet mignon with mushrooms, risotto, and a sous vide egg. When you took a bite with each component, it was like a flavor explosion in your mouth (in the best way possible). I only wish I had had room for Roy's molten chocolate cake because it is the best ever. Ok, I have to stop, I'm salivating on my computer...

5) What is your favorite recipe on your blog?
Ok seriously? I have to choose!? Ok hmm, there are a bunch to choose from that I love for a variety of reasons, including the Pie for Mikey (honoring Jennifer Perillo's late husband), Mimi's green beans (my grandmother's special recipe), kir royale cupcakes (to celebrate passing the bar), and my first time killing and cooking a live lobster (complete with instructional video). I'd have to say that my all-time favorite is this one: Pappardelle with Italian Meat Sauce. ( ) This one is probably my favorite because I can make it all the time, it's easy, takes pretty minimal effort, can be changed and worked around in multiple ways, keeps my spaghetti-and-meat-sauce-loving man happy, can be used with pasta or lasagna, and tastes incredible. It is seriously one of the best things on the blog. I highly recommend that one, although I (obviously) recommend you check out the Recipe Index at the top or the Categories on the side to see what piques your interest!

For more information, check out Lynn's blog:

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Carmen and Andrew's wedding: A SWEET SUCCESS!

I love meeting brides and grooms who KNOW EXACTLY what they want at their wedding. When I met Andrew and Carmen, a lovely young couple, we hit it off right from the start. They described their wedding ("black and white" decor, family-oriented, romatic) and how they wanted to include cake and cupcakes in their special day, I knew what to make. Something simple, yet delicious.

Sticking with the black and white theme, I went with netural colored cake and frosting flavors. No "razzle-dazzle" or "blueberry bomb" is going to be at their wedding. After a cake and frosting testing (done at the comfort at their home), they decided on two cupcake flavors: 1) Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream 2) Banana cake with chocolate-caramel cake. The two tiered cake ended up being a lemon cake with a raspberry filling with black and white decor on the outside.

The wedding location, The Pickering Farm in downtown Issaquah, was a PERFECT location for a baker: smooth pavement, easy access from I-90, and no gravel/bumps in the roads. The event center was an old school dairy farm with a modern twist. With the rain and wind the background, it had a very "pacific northwest" feel to the special day.

Carmen set aside a long table just for the cake and cupcakes. It was very easy to set up and work with all the other vendors. AND, Carmen and Andrew LOVED the cake and cupcakes, which equals SWEET SUCCESS!

Congrats you two! Many blessings for a wonderful life.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The ONE "food" item I truly DISLIKE....

I consider myself to be a happy and joyful person: I like to bake sweet things, "see" the cup half full, and smile when I am practicing yoga. I LOVE trying new dishes at local restaurants, reading new cook books, and chat up the local bank teller about his/her favorite night life place. But there is ONE thing I truly dislike in the food world...

My answer: Non-stick sprays. I have mention the harmful duties it can do to your pots and pans in previous blog post. This blog post is dedicated, in details, to the "mis-understanding" of non-stick sprays.

What is in non-stick sprays?

Basically, cheap non-stick sprays is fake fat in a aerosol can. Yes, there are "real" fat non-stick sprays that claim to be 100% olive oil or canola oil. Most non-stick sprays will also contain lethicin and/or "propellent" as a binder.

So, how does it harm your cookware/bakeware/glassware?
It is the aerosol-spray feature that is so strong, it will leave a "film" on top your gorgeous, brand new cookware/bakeware. Anything with an aerosol spray will do this, like cheap hair spray. It does not matter if you use "100% olive oil" non-stick sprays or not. Anything with an aerosol srpay will always leave a film. Want proof? See that caramel-color junk? That is not excess grease or fat, it is non-stick spray that was no cleaned off. See, that film is super "tough" and "strong" that it BINDS itself to the pan. Do you really want that in your food and body?

My non-stick spray brand says it can be washed off. So, what?
Yes, many companies will say the spray can be washed off. It can...with a LOT of elbow grease, soap, and a de-greaser. The remove that junk, you will eventually need to buy a de-greaser cleaner, especially if you cook often.

So, what are my alternatives to the sprays?
1) Use a very strong non-stick pan that does not required fat in your cooking.
2) Use real butter.
3) Use real oil (like olive or sesame) from the bottle.
4) Buy a "mist" oil spray. The mist spray is not like the aersol spray, it is very soft and gentle.

Opps! I sprayed my pans! What do I do?

-Wash with warm soap and water and a soft sponge.
-Invest in a de-greaser cleaner if the film is strong.
-Toss the pan if it is covered in the film. Buy a new one.

What about my bakeware pans? Or my glass casserole dishes?
Easy: Either 1) use a mist spray and fill it with a flavorless oil, like canola.
2) Take a paper towel, put soft butter or oil on it, and wipe it in your baking pans. Thus, the butter/oil acts "non-stick."
-I like choice #2: simple and easy and one less thing I have to buy!

Many of my cook and baking books say to use it...why?
They have become so standard in professional food places, that many believe they NEED the sprays so the food will not stick. Thus, many chefs/bakers/cooks believe they will always need sprays. Also, since most restaurants carry stainless steel cookware, they need some sort of "fast" and "cheap" fat to coat the pan/pot. Yes, those sprays are cheaper and faster than "butter-ing" cookware.

Another fact: real fat is so much better than fake fat! But, don't get worried if you do digest some non-stick sprays. There are worse things in the world. Start making good cooking habits: NOW!

Happy Baking,